Come Back to Our Valley
We're tired of the cold and snow but just imagine living in a small cabin and it being around the middle of February. That just might be where the words cabin fever came from. There were no snowplows so the roads would have been impassible for weeks except on horseback.
Everything had to be freighted in from Alamosa or farther during those earliest years. It must have seemed like a miracle when the railroad made it to Durango in 1881 and foodstuffs and other supplies could be freighted in from what must have seemed like a short distance until winter hit, and then even going to Durango was impossible at times.
In 1879 the post office was moved to the Menefee place a few miles east of town and then early in 1881 the town was laid out and the post office was moved into town. The settlers that had erected residences in town by that time had familiar names. They included four of the men who had been the first cowboys to build cabins in the valley. A bridge across the river at what is now South Main was important enough for those who lived in town and those who lived to the south of town that $100 was gathered up and given to a new arrival, A. C. Honaker, who had a head for construction. It served the community well for many years and Honaker used the $100 to bring his extended family to the Mancos Valley.
Also in 1881 Dave Lemmon built a hotel at the south end of Main Street. It was a long one level log structure. He built it where he did because the road coming from Durango passed his business and it was also where the road to Cortez took off.
All of this had taken place before George Bauer came riding into town on a mule and leading three burros. He quickly sold everything he had brought into the valley and went back for more. By that fall he had constructed a small store with a room on the back for his living quarters. He enlarged it over the winter and the next spring he brought his wife and two children to Mancos.
The Wetherills had arrived in Mancos in 1881 and had settled on what they named the Alamo. The Mormons also began coming that year and settled south of town down what is known as Webber Canyon.
The spring of 1881 saw signal lights on the hills around Mancos because of an Indian scare that resulted in horses stolen, homes burned and several men killed out away from the Mancos Valley.
In 1881 the school district was organized and $200 was spent for that school term.
The year 1881 was a big year for the settlers living in the Mancos Valley. From there the history of the Mancos Valley began to slowly take a somewhat modern turn.